I Miss You Ashlee… Photo Memory Quilt

Have you ever missed someone so much, that sometimes you find yourself trying to not think about them because you miss them so much… but then you realize how much you are thinking of them by trying to NOT think of them? This would be the case for how I miss my niece Ashlee.

See, my parents were older than the average parent when they had me, and also included one more after me (but I do have older siblings) and so with that, it brought me to be an Aunt at a very young age. I was 8 or 9 when Ashlee was born, the first born granddaughter. She is the daughter of my older sister Brandy. She was adored pretty highly and me, being a child myself, even grew up to continue loving children (anyone who really knows me, knows me for my love of kids and their smiling faces); Ashlee and I ended up creating a bond between one another that is different from any of my other nieces and nephews (whom I do not love any less). I bonded with Ashlee because I was so young and grew up with her, we are only 8-9 years apart and we came up as friends it seems more than anything. Even when we didn’t live close and they lived in Nebraska or Arizona… no matter when I saw her next, I swear it was as if I had been with her every day since the day she was born. I cherished and valued the relationship I had with her as I grew up and throughout the years others had expressed how much they admired how close we were. We really did do a lot together.

Then, time passes and people grow older, lives begin to change and priorities begin to take a different shape. I moved to KS from CA back in the end of 2010. I spent one last great weekend with my sister and her family in Las Vegas at my other niece Brittni’s softball tournament; then the very next day from our return, I was on the road to KS to begin my life with my husband.

I have missed a lot of Ashlee’s big events… I have been a part of her life and have been in it, but I have only been able to be a part of one significant life event in her life, which was her 16th Birthday. I missed her 10th Birthday, her 13th, her 18th, her graduation and I have yet to still meet the boyfriend she is currently dating. I have ached that I have not been able to follow through with being there due to the distance, cost, time off, etc. She turned 21 this year… and after I finished my mother-in-law’s t-shirt blanket I had already been thinking of the next project. Before anything, I looked into tickets, gifts, etc. and what I could afford – I even ended  up going to a local Hobby Lobby to try and give my creative side a boost because I seemed to become more and more depressed that I couldn’t ACTUALLY be there with her. As soon as I entered the fabric section in the store, they had the most PERFECT fabric that was part of their Valentines collection. Ashlee loves France/Paris and it had the Eiffel Tower, hearts, love, and it was very old age/antique/new age all together. I instantly knew that was the fabric… the rest just followed after.

Pre-Layout of pictures

I decided that because I could not be there for my nieces 21st Birthday, I had to make something memorable and give her a piece of me and my love so that I would feel closer to her because I knew she would always hold the blanket dear. We are both very sentimental in that manner. The design of how I wanted to do it took me longer than actually making it.

Layout of all fabric before sewing

I miss Ashlee, and I will always miss her. I am grateful and thankful for being a part of her life and seeing her become the young woman that she is today. I am excited for the next 30 years with my niece and even more excited for when she has children of her own and the Aunt spoiling may begin all over again. She is a great niece, friend, sister, girlfriend and so much more.

P.S. She absolutely loved it!!!

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Welcome! – The Quilt that altered my direction…

Hello and Welcome! So, this is not my first shot at a blog; however it is my first shot at a blog that is not personal. I did keep a blog that was more personal of life experience, marriage, friendships, etc. I am admittedly an emotional person. I seem to really take in every emotion towards everything – to the smallest of things just as much as I would the biggest of things… happy or sad, angry or stressed… everything in between.

My blog and site now, will be more about sewing, quilting, fabric, etc. I hope you enjoy and continue to read as I grow with you. To let us begin, I am going to share my first story of what brought me to this point.

I have been an avid crocheter for some time. My grandmother taught me when I was young, just the basics. She had made Afghans for all of her grandchildren which lasted several years until the holes from all of our abuse had finally met their match. As I became older I began crocheting more and more, creating blankets at first and later learning how to make gloves, scarves and other little things. I found myself with more projects than I knew what to do with and it wasn’t a matter of wanting to finish them rather than the overwhelming thought of how much time is taken into each one and yet I had not even finished it and even when I picked anything up at all, I never knew where to begin again.

I don’t know what happened but something happened. It has been a slow process in the past two years. My husband has tolerated my purchases even when I had items sitting for almost two years, barely touched. You could almost say that I became the one with all of the ‘unfinished projects’ or ‘items just to buy’… my husband is much more efficient than I am in this area. It is part of any artists creative side though, isn’t it? To always have something on the mind for next, or to always see something and continue wondering what you could do with it? I am lucky that he continues to support my vast amount of dreams. Back to approximately 2 years ago…

I have always known how to generally sew, nothing too major or extravagant but enough to sew a button on, hem a part of pants and so on. I have a friend whom does quite a bit of quilting and I always enjoyed seeing her posts and pictures. It eventually led to more posts and pictures from others and all of a sudden, I was driven to make a quilt out of my husbands old middle school and high school t-shirts that his mother had hoarded all of these years (15-20 to be exact). I began researching and researching and researching some more through quilt blogs, quilt designs, multiple opinions and ideas. I felt almost lost in the possibilities that it only made me want to do more. I finally began the cutting of the t-shirt quilt for my mother-in-law’s birthday, which is the same time I began really finding myself in such a serenity that I had not been able to have since I left CA to move to KS to be with my husband… the beach/ocean has always been my serenity of peace, a place to zone out and not think… just mindless activity that was still stimulating. I measured, cut, pinned, basted, sewed and quilted my heart out until there was nothing left further to sew/quilt. I realized that I felt incomplete once I was done. I felt like I was then missing something as to part of my day. So along came more quilting blogs, ideas, designs, patterns and most of all, possibilities.

It is my very first quilt and I learned a lot – I am excited about my continuing growth in quilting and I can’t wait to continue sharing it with you. I have completed so many other since or at least began other projects, but I am taking each one a step at a time and doing them as my creativity wants me to do them. I will be posting the other projects I have completed and am working on. I love any and all ideas/comments! Constructive criticism is what I live by, don’t be scared to tell me what you think (but please keep it respectful).

I intend to post a minimum of once a week of the activity of that week, which may or may not be about quilting or sewing specifically, but definitely in the realm of life and the creativity in it.

I apologize that the pictures are horrible. I really dislike taking pictures inside… but I had finished this in the middle of the night and it had to be mailed out the very next morning (nothing like last minute… I am such a procrastinator) and I was not going to have time to stage a good picture.

There you have it… not a magical story, but still my story. I hope to continue to see you around!